TONY CRADDOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY TONY CRADDOCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Geyser. View of steam rising from a geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA. Geysers consist of deep natural wells in geothermal rock fissures. Somewhere near the base of the well is a large chamber. The water in the chamber is heated by the surrounding rocks until it is well over its normal boiling point, but is prevented from boiling by hydrostatic pressure. The heating also causes the water to expand, spilling from the lip of the well. At a critical point, the loss of water allows the hydrostatic pressure to fall to a point where the superheated water boils spontaneously and erupts.
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